Here is a personal list of the top 10 albums that I found most desirable in 2011. I based my choices and the order on elements such as how many songs I skip when listening to the album, sales, hype, lyrics, production and creativity. I also included runner-ups and why I chose not to make them a part of my list.
10. Ambition | Wale
This DC emcee comes last on my list because I feel as though he has better work, such as 'More About Nothing' amongst other things. However, this album still has many radio-worthy hits and his heavily poetic lyricism prominent throughout.
9. Goblin | Tyler, the creator
Although undoubtedly one of the most lyrically controversial albums put out this year, you cannot deny this guy's talent. Tyler's overly-prominent individuality, tell-it-like-it-is lyricism, and his skills as a producer landed him on my list.
8. F.A.M.E. | Chris Brown
This fourth studio album from the Virginia native was strategically put together as something that would appeal to everyone. The variety of the subject matter, levels of energy, and variety of featured artists kept me on my toes as I listened.
The Toronto actor turned rapper/singer caught me a little off guard with this one. It was much more laid back and emotional than I expected, yet in a good way. Drake is developing a multi-faceted persona as an artist and this album proves so undoubtedly. I also love how much he decides to reveal about his life via this project.
6. Lioness: Hidden Treasures | Amy Winehouse
This amazing posthumous compilation of unreleased tracks was put together by the London songbird's record label and family members and sums up her talent wonderfully. With features from Nas to Tony Bennett and remakes of many old classics, the soulfulness of this album took me to another place.
5. Finally Famous | Big Sean
This album made my list mainly for exceeding my expectations. Between Sean's signature witty punchlines, wonderfully executed production primarily from No I.D., and featured artistry from Lupe, Pharrell, Kanye, Wiz, and more, this album was filled with pleasant surprises. Many of the tracks are fun and energetic, while others are more serious and give the listener a better sense of who Sean is as an artist and as a person.
4. Camp | Childish Gambino
The multi-talented Donald Glover hit the ground running with this entirely self-produced first commercial release of his. He tells stories of his childhood and uses endless amounts of analogies and pop culture references allowing the listener to get to know him. His vivacious personality, spunky flow, and realness factor work together to make this multi-faceted album a masterpiece and left me wanting more.
Another soulful English songstress graces my countdown and for obvious reasons. Her lyrics tell the listener of her highest highs and lowest lows while simultaneously entrancing us with her her strong, immaculate voice. Adele harnesses her post-breakup emotion in a most remarkable way and delivers a wonderfully put together production.
I will not ramble on too much about this masterpiece due to the lengthy review I previously posted upon its release, however, I will be concise and simply reiterate that this album encompasses everything that a great album should. It was well thought out in every aspect -- impeccable lyricism, an impressive array of featured artists and producers, and even beautifully executed album art.
Six months later and I am still truly speechless as far as this little piece of heaven is concerned. Its success was displayed by how well it surfaced despite having absolutely no radio or television coverage. Kendrick is not only a lyricist, but a thinker and activist. The way he managed to relay his point of view regarding issues that plague modern day society is astonishing.
Locke High 2 | Terrace Martin -- Although one of my favorite artists, there were many other albums I liked this year. However, if I did a top 11, this definitely would have made the cut.
Nothing But The Beat | David Guetta -- I honestly enjoy every single track on this album and absolutely live for the energy, however, a good album, for me, needs to be one that I can listen to over and over again.
Cole World: Sideline Story | J. Cole -- I hate to leave him with the short end of the stick but I feel he has much better work, as proven by 'The Warm Up' and 'Friday Night Lights'.
Other good albums this year:
Born This Way | Lady Gaga
BlackenedWhite | MellowHype
From The Westside With Love II | Dom Kennedy
From The Westside With Love II | Dom Kennedy
The Div | Pac Div
Love After War | Robin Thicke
Mac & Devin Go To High School | Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa